June 30, 2009

Wash. man wins bad prose contest

A 55-year-old writer from Federal Way, Wash., has won this year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad opening novel sentences, officials say.

The goal of the contest is to come up with the worst, most cliched opening sentences for imaginary novels to parody the work of British author Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), whose It was a dark and stormy night opened the 1830 novel Paul Clifford.

Contest judges said in a release Tuesday that David McKenzie, 55, had won the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, the 27th grand prize winner since the contest began at San Jose State University in 1982.

Here is McKenzie's prize-winning bad opening sentence:

Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the Ellie May, a sturdy whaler captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.